Andhra CM-CS showdown likely over cabinet meet

Andhra CM-CS showdown likely over cabinet meet

Amaravati, May 7 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has called a cabinet meeting on May 10, appears to be heading for showdown with Chief Secretary L.V. Subramanyam as the latter on Tuesday held series of meetings with key officials.

There were indications that Subramanyam, who was appointed by the Election Commission after shunting out A.C. Punetha last month much to the chagrin of Naidu, may ask officials to skip the cabinet meeting in view of the model code of conduct (MCC), which was in force for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Subramanyam met some top officials to consult them over a note sent by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) for convening a cabinet meeting on May 10. In this context, the meeting of state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi with Subramanyam also assumed significance.

The general practice for holding a cabinet meet is that the CMO sends a note to the Chief Secretary, who in turn intimates all the departments and depending on the information received from them, sets the agenda. However, as the MCC is still in force, there is suspense over the cabinet meet.

Naidu has decided to hold the cabinet meeting to take stock of drought situation in parts of the state, drinking water problem and relief works in areas affected by cyclone Fani.

Naidu has asked officials not associated with the election duties to attend the meet. He warned of disciplinary action against those violating the rules.

Ever since the Election Commission (EC) appointed Subramanyam, Naidu and his ministers have been targeting him. They took strong exception to the Chief Secretary holding review meetings.

Naidu said on Friday that while Chief Secretaries in other states continue to report to the Chief Ministers on regular administrative matters, Subramanyam was acting indifferently.

Naidu repeatedly slammed the EC for preventing him from holding meetings to review the progress of the ongoing projects. He also warned the panel that it would be responsible for cost overrun of the projects and any losses that may occur due to absence of review meetings of seasonal conditions.

Naidu argued that his was an elected government and it alone had power to look after day-to-day administration. He said that the MCC comes into picture when the government violates any provision like by taking policy decisions.

He maintained that while official entrusted with the election duties were not bound to report to him, all others should report to him. He said the Chief Secretary had to report to both the EC and to him.

Certain remarks made by Naidu about Subramanyam after April 10 elections in the state had evoked condemnation from a section of retired IAS officers, who had urged Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan to take action against the Chief Minister.

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